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NRHA Government Affairs Continues Advocacy Efforts

NRHA sent the following communication to Capitol Hill offices this morning. Please contact NRHA Government Affairs at (202) 639-0550 with any questions. "Various proposals to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction include billions in reimbursement cuts to rural hospitals. These proposals erroneously claim that they eliminate “higher than necessary reimbursement” to rural facilities. However, small rural hospitals, known as Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), account for only 5.3% of all hospital spending while providing care for 8.7% of Medicare adjusted patient days. "Proposed cuts will exacerbate significant funding shortfalls for rural hospitals that are providing efficient services to the most vulnerable beneficiaries. Currently 41% of all CAHs operate at financial lose. If these proposals to cut billions in Medicare reimbursements go into effect, many more CAHs would lose money, jeopardizing access to inpatient and emergency care. "Congress created the CAH designation in 1997 to prevent hospital closures, like those that occurred in the 1980s and 1990s. In those two decades, 360 rural facilities closed.  From 2000-2009, only 43 CAHs closed.  The CAH program is a safety net program that is working. "CAHs are vital access points for rural seniors who are, per capita, older, poorer and sicker than their urban counterparts.  Recent reports show that Medicare will contribute over 40% of all revenue to CAHs, compared to 32% for urban facilities.  Medicare cuts to rural facilities will disproportionately harm these vital safety net facilities. "NRHA and its 22,000 hospital, physician, practitioner and patient members call on you to protect the rural health care safety net.  It is vital that you oppose any and all efforts to decimate the rural delivery system."

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